Canada Work Permit Options Without an LMIA


Most people who move to Canada and want to settle here know about Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

An LMIA is a labor market test that the government requires when an employer is looking to hire a foreign national due to labor shortages.

However, there are a few ways that allow people to work in Canada temporarily without needing an LMIA. This is because of various economic, social, and cultural policy reasons.

One of the most common ways this happens is through the Canadian interests category of the International Mobility Program (IMP).



The IMP generally has four common streams that work without requiring an LMIA. These four streams are listed below –

1. Significant benefit

You may work in Canada without an LMIA if your work contributes significantly to the country’s culture or society. In this stream, foreign workers who want to perform duties that will benefit Canadians, get a work permit.

These duties should create or maintain social, cultural, or economic benefits. Also, you should help create new opportunities for the people of Canada.

Apart from this, there are other objective measures that you need to fulfill. You should have proof of-

  • An official academic record shows you have a degree, diploma, or certificate. Having a similar achievement from a learning institution relating to their work area also works.
  • Work from current or former employers. This should show that you have 10 or more years of experience in the occupation for which you’re coming to Canada
  • Your membership in organizations requiring excellence of its members
  • Any national or international awards or patents you received (if applicable)
  • That you have ever been the judge of the work of others (if applicable)
  • Receiving recognition for achievements and significant contributions to the field. This could be by peers, governmental organizations, or professional or business associations
  • Your scientific or scholarly contributions to the field
  • Whether you have held a leading role in an organization with a distinguished reputation.

A few programs that exist under this stream are –


If you want to start a business in Canada, this program is for you. However, you must be the sole or majority owner of the company. Also, you need to prove that your business will benefit Canadians greatly.

Intra-Company transfers

You can apply for a work permit under this stream if you are coming to Canada to work for an affiliate, parent company, subsidiary, or Canadian branch of their foreign employer.

PNP Nominees as Entrepreneurs

This stream is for potential nominees through PNP coming to Canada as an entrepreneur. They get a work permit without LMIA to start and operate their business in Canada, once selected by a particular Entrepreneur stream.

2. Charitable and religious workers

Charitable and religious workers stream doesn’t need an LMIA. Under this, people who want to come to Canada and conduct religious or charitable duties, do not need an LMIA.

Charitable work is any work that aims to relieve poverty. Moreover, work done to advance education also falls under this.

So, any work that provided benefits to society is considered charitable. Note that any organization that is registered as a charity with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is seen as more credible.

If you are a volunteer for charitable work you do not need a work permit. Also, a standard charitable worker needs a work permit but remains LMIA-exempt

If you apply as a religious worker, you need to be part of, or share, the beliefs of the particular religious community where you intend to work or have the ability to teach or share other religious beliefs.

3. Reciprocal employment

Another common way of working in Canada without an LMIA is by getting employment opportunities in Canada as a product of similar opportunities provided to Canadians working abroad.

So, this stream provides work permits to people who perform duties in Canada that help create or maintain international relationships.

Also, it should provide employment opportunities to Canadian citizens or permanent residents in other countries too.

There are international agreements and international exchange programs that let them work here. These programs mutually benefit non-Canadians coming to work in this country and natural-born Canadians working in countries around the world.

For example, the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement is a measure of reciprocal employment provided to Canadians in many international locations.

Also, programs like International Experience Canada (IEC) provide opportunities for Canadians to flourish through experiencing life abroad.

So people applying through the IMP from countries upholding working relationships with Canada don’t need an LMIA.

4. Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP)

The Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) program is one of the most common prominent non-LMIA programs. It is a part of this stream.

This program provides international students who graduate from an eligible program an open work permit.

You can complete the program from any Canadian-designated learning institution. After this, you get a work permit for up to three years.

However, the actual length of a permit depends on the length of the educational program from which you graduate. You can work for a Canadian employer of your choice.

You do not need an existing job offer at the time of application. This program is one of the most popular ways through which Canada provides most of its non-LMIA work permits on an annual basis.

Also, this program provides work permits to the spouses of and common-law partners of full-time students and foreign nationals who have come to Canada as skilled workers.

Thank you for reading!


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